When I was very young, my rural hometown had a small movie theater, but it wasn’t there long. While I was growing up, my little cotton patch of a town was growing smaller. Poverty was in the process of boarding the Bootheel region of Southeast Missouri shut, but when I was a child, my little town was more than adequate. It was the spot that helped me weave a nest of memories, and that is more than enough.
A few years after our movie theater closed, someone temporarily set up a big tent and sold tickets to watch old movies. It seems to me that the tickets cost a quarter, but the cost of admission may have been less than that. The tent was golden yellow, and it looked just like the one that my grandmother’s church used for tent revivals. Not long ago, I walked outside and looked at the moon that was cradled above my back garden, and I remembered my childhood, its tent revivals, and the moon that has always enchanted me.
Full, But Hazy Autumn Moon
by Jacki Kellum
Tonight, the moon is perched high in the sky, directly above the garden–just outside my back door.
Tonight, when I first got downstairs and looked out the sunroom window, my first thought was that it must be the moments just before dawn.
Everything around was fairly brightly lit, and I could faintly see the plants that were brave enough to have continued blooming after the cool, October air had tucked their neighbors into bed. Everything in my garden had a soft, muted, and faintly-colored, shimmering glow.
As I looked around, I thought: Tonight, the moonlight is bright, but this is not one of those hot-light nights like the ones when I used to walk home from church, well after sunset, and the hum of the locusts was so loud that the air seemed to rattle a song.
And tonight is not one of those nights when ladies in the church would beat around their faces with cardboard fans that had Jesus painted on them.
Yes, Lord, tonight’s moonlight is not like that when I used to go to the tent revivals with my grandmother, and I stood up and sat down beneath bare light bulbs that were strung across the top of the tent and dangled. And everyone sang. Shall We Gather at the River?
Tonight’s light is not like that of the summer nights when my neighborhood friends and I would dart about the yard, playing tag and hide and seek. We would run until the sweat dripped from our clothes. Then, we’d sit down and giggle on the back porch, drinking lemonade from rainbow-colored, aluminum glasses.
Tonight is not like the summer nights of my childhood. Tonight, there is no hot, blaring, bugle-like, jazz-singing, summer moon.
Tonight, there is only a soft, hazy, autumn moon–a cornstarch moon–kissed by honey, hanging in the dark.
Full but Hazy Autumn Moon ©Jacki Kellum October 28, 2015
©Jacki Kellum August 6, 2017